How Should We Give Today?
While we as Christians are not under a legalistic law that gives us specific details on our giving, again, we are indeed commanded to be giving people, and thus we ought to look for opportunities to give.
1. We should give to the work of the church.
Even though it is not really a specific command, it is our custom to follow a procedure that is perhaps similar to the example of 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.
Most congregations take up an offering every week, and they have committed to certain needs and works that are intended to be a blessing to the church members and to people of the community and all around the world.
And, just as those in Corinth were urged to follow through with what they had promised to do, so also we need to give what we have promised to give.
2 Corinthians 9:7a "Let each one give as he has purposed in his heart." (planned giving is good)
2. Not only should we give to the church, but we should also give to other needs and good works.
If we are to be more like those early Christians, then we will also look for opportunities to give on a more individual and personal basis.
They did not just put money in a collection plate and think they had fulfilled their duty to be giving people; when they saw people in need, they gave.
We also fulfill our obligation to be giving when we give to a family who is in need, or when we support a worthy cause, etc.
2 Timothy 1:16-18 Onesiphorus went looking for Paul to see if he was in need. We too need to look for those in need so that we might be a blessing to them.
Some have suggested that it might be better to always give to the church treasury so that, when money is given out of that treasury, the glory might go to the church from which it came. Perhaps so, but in addition to our giving to the church treasury, we also need to give personally to any and every need we see so that the glory might go to Christ (2 Corinthians 9:13).
Also consider Mark 7:9-13. Surely we’re not like that, but neither should we always excuse ourselves from giving personally to good works and to those in need because we’ve already given to the church
If we gave more in the manner as did the early Christians (not to a church treasury, but personally to those in need), then we might not have as much money in the church treasury to spend on nice buildings and paid preachers, but we’d probably look a whole lot more like the 1st century church!
3. We should give without looking for praise or credit.
In his commentary, Matthew Henry said:
What was the practice of the hypocrites about this duty? They did it indeed, but not from any principle of obedience to God, or love to man, but in pride and vain-glory; not in compassion to the poor, but purely for ostentation, that they might be extolled as good men, and so might gain an interest in the esteem of the people, with which they knew how to serve their own turn, and to get a great deal more than they gave.
Pursuant to this intention, they chose to give their alms in the synagogues, and in the streets, where there was the greatest concourse of people to observe them, who applauded their liberality because they shared in it, but were so ignorant as not to discern their abominable pride. Probably they had collections for the poor in the synagogues, and the common beggars haunted the streets and highways, and upon these public occasions they chose to give their alms. [quote continued on next page]
Not that it is unlawful to give alms when men see us; we may do it; but not that men may see us; we should rather choose those objects of charity that are less observed. The hypocrites, if they gave alms to their own houses, sounded a trumpet, under pretence of calling the poor together to be served, but really to proclaim their charity, and to have that taken notice of and made the subject of discourse."
Mark 12:41-44 “Remember those that gave large amounts, presumably to be noticed; the widow who gave her two small coins surely received no praise or credit from others.
4. We should give as generously as possible.
2 Corinthians 9:6
We should give enough that God would consider it to be liberal!
And how much is liberal? That’s for each one of us to decide… after long and intense prayer to God, and after long and intense searching deep within the heart
Give as you would if an angel awaited your gift at the door.
Give as you would if tomorrow found your giving here all o’er.
Give as you would to the Master if you met His loving look.
Give as you would of your substance if His hand the offering took.